The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 offseason has reached the six-week period of no activities leading up to training camp. With extra time to think about things during the “no news is good news” time of the calendar, there have been several moments from the 2022 season which may have fallen out of some of our memories. But if we were to look back at the Steelers season, the first one of the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, what was the best game for the Steelers?
Rather than simply answer the question, we have plenty of time to come to this decision. Instead of throwing out all the nominees and leave one big poll, these games are going to face off in a bracket-style contests to see which one BTSC chooses as the best Steelers game of 2022.
First, I’m specifically using the term best and not defining it in any way for the benefit of everyone involved. Perhaps what is the best for one doesn’t need to be what the best is for another. Maybe one game someone attended in person and appreciates it even more while another game saw a specific great play from a favorite player. Maybe one fan enjoys games that come down to the wire and the Steelers pull it off, while others feel much better when the Steelers have a little bit more of a cushion. Exactly what you feel is best is completely up to you.
To set up how this will work, we are only going to include Steelers victories from the 2022 season. Can we really say that their best game came in a loss? Rather than waste our time throwing those into the mix, we’re going to stick with the nine wins from the Steelers 2022 campaign.
But with nine games comes an uneven bracket. For this reason, there will be one play-in game, in order to get down to eight contests and a nice even bracket. I seeded the games without putting much thought into it simply to give matchups.
This week, BTSC decided a winner from the final four on Monday and Tuesday and it’s time to find the ultimate champion. Make sure you vote in the poll at the bottom of the article to help determine the winner.
The final matchup on the bracket features the Steelers Christmas Eve win over the Raiders which took down the Browns game 69% to 31% against the Week 17 comeback win over the Ravens which moved on 77% to 23% against the Bengals.
Week 16 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders: 13-10
The Steelers and the Raiders entered their primetime matchup on Christmas Eve with identical 6–8 records with slim hops of making the postseason hanging in the balance. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, The temperature at kickoff was 9° with 21 mph winds.
Winning the coin toss and opting to receive, the Raiders possessed the ball for more than eight minutes on a 14-play drive. After converting a 3rd & 16 which pushed the ball into the Steelers red zone, the Raiders had their third conversion on third down when Derek Carr hit a hunter Renfrow for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Steelers failed to cross midfield on their first drive before punting it back to the Raiders who also punted five plays later. The Steelers took over at their own 25-yard line and crossed midfield as the first quarter expired. Failing to convert a 3rd & 2 on the Raiders 23-yard line, Chris Boswell missed a 43-yard field goal giving the ball back to the Raiders.
The Steelers defense forced a punt which pinned the Steelers at their own 12-yard line. Moving the ball to the Raiders 26, the Steelers attempted another field goal, this time being successful from 44 yards with 1:49 left in the half. The Raiders were faced with a 3rd & 10 with 0:32 left in the half when Derek Carr hit Darren Waller for a 34-yard gain and set up a 40-yard field goal with seconds remaining and taking a 10–3 lead into the half.
The Steelers first drive the second half moved down to the Raiders 36-yard line before Kenny Pickett was hit as he threw and had his first interception since before the Steelers bye week. The Raiders returned the pick 24 yards just past midfield. But on the very next play, the Steelers defense responded with an interception by Arthur Maulet which gave the Steelers the ball back at their own 44-yard line.
The Steelers ensuing drive stalled at the Raiders 34-yard line and Chris Boswell was unsuccessful on the 52-yard field goal. The Raiders crossed midfield on their next possession before Minkah Fitzpatrick came up with an interception setting the Steelers up at their own 29-yard line. Unable to gain a single yard, the Steelers had a three and out with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. After one first down, Derrick Carr was thrown for a 13-yards loss on the sack by Alex Highsmith on the final play of the third quarter and a 29-yard punt after the team switched ends set the Steelers up close to midfield. Ten plays later Chris Boswell was successful from 40 yards and the Steelers cut the lead to 10–6 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Raiders managed only one first down on their next possession before punting back to the Steelers and the two teams then swapped three and outs. Taking over on their own 24-yard line with 2:55 left, the next eight plays went to either Najee Harris or Pat Freiermuth and set the Steelers up for a 4th & 1 at the Raiders 15-yard line with 0:55 remaining.
After getting the first down or a quarterback sneak and using their final timeout, Kenny Pickett connected with George Pickens for the 14-yard touchdown with 0:46 remaining.
With not much time to get into field goal range, the Raiders second offensive play saw a Cam Sutton interception where the Steelers took over on their own 19-yard line was 0:29 left. But with Las Vegas holding all three timeouts, the Steelers still needed a first down to end the game. After a rush for no gain by Najee Harris on first down and the Raiders using their first timeout, the Steeler sealed the victory on a Connor Heyward end around for 21 yards and the Steelers brought home the win in honor of the late Franco Harris.
View highlights of the Week 16 victory over the Raiders via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
Week 17 at the Baltimore Ravens: 16-13
The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2023 calendar year at 7–8 and still alive for the postseason although needing a lot of help. First simply trying to get back to .500, the Steelers traveled to Baltimore to face the 10–5 Ravens who were without their starting quarterback but with the defense who had surrendered more than 14 points in a game only once since Halloween. With the game getting flexed into Sunday Night Football on New Year’s Day, the Steelers were held out of the end zone for 59 minutes only to complete a dramatic come back.
The Steelers won the opening toss and chose to receive the ball and ran almost 8 minutes off the clock before stalling at the Baltimore 2-yard line and settling for the short field goal. The Ravens held the ball for the remainder of the quarter and answered with a 30-yard field goal just into quarter number two.
The teams exchange punts the next two drives before the Steelers moved the ball into Ravens territory only to miss their 48-yard field goal attempt with 3:30 remaining in the half. The Ravens moved the ball across midfield prior to the two minute warning and finished off the touchdown drive with a Tyler Huntley pass to Isaiah Likely from 7 yards out with 0:07 left in the half to take the 10–3 lead.
Looking to score on back-to-back drives without the Steelers possessing the ball due to the halftime break, the Ravens moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory and connected on a 51-yard field goal to take a 13–3 lead. The Steelers answered with their own 51-yard field goal after a key 3rd & 14 completion to George Pickens. The Steelers defense dug in at midfield on the Ravens next drive to force the punt and took over at their own 5-yard line as the third quarter was winding down. The Steelers were able to move the ball to the red zone only to stall again and settle for another three points from Chris Boswell bringing the score to 13–9.
The ensuing kick off saw the Ravens return it to the Steelers 40-yard line only for the Steelers to push them back two yards and force a punt with 8:41 remaining in the game. The Steelers could not get out of the shadow of their own end zone but Pressley Harvin gave the team a timely 51-yard punt to force the Ravens to start in their own territory. Forcing a three and out, the Steelers took over on their own 20-yard line with 4:16 remaining.
Connecting for a 20-yard gain to Pat Freiermuth followed by a 28-yard pass to Steven Sims right before the two minute warning, the Steelers were just outside the red zone trailing by four points. Running the ball and forcing the Ravens to use their timeouts, the Steelers faced a 3rd & 8 on the Ravens 10-yard line with 1:02 left when Kenny Pickett scrambled to his left and hit Najee Harris for a 10-yard touchdown.
Taking over at their own 25-yard line with 0:56 remaining in the game and no timeouts, the Ravens spiked the ball with 0:20 remaining on their own 38-yard line only for the next play to bring an interception by Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers took victory formation and left Baltimore with a .500 record for the first time in the 2022 season since Week 2.
View highlights of the Week 17 victory over the Ravens via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
So there are the two games highlighted in the final to determine the Steelers best game of the 2022 season. Is there something else that stands out to you from either of these games? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Which game was the better Steelers game in 2022?
This poll is closed
Week 16 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders: 13-10
Week 17 at the Baltimore Ravens: 16-13